I feel hugely privileged to have Stephannie on my blog today. Her Self Published Authors’ Lounge has provided so many insights into the business and lifestyle of being self-published and I have immensely enjoyed her fantasy romance novels – especially Persephone.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I’m a native of Coastal Washington, not Washington DC, but the other Washington and have lived in Utah and Oklahoma in the US, and several cities in British Columbia, Canada. No, my parents aren’t military, I just have wandering feet and love meeting new people and learn about different cultures. I “blame” my parents for moving to multi-cultural housing while they went to college. Regardless, the experiences I’ve had while living have fueled the already fertile imagination of a daydreamer and writer.
Moving to a small ranch in Southwestern Wyoming with my husband, two daughters, a few stray cats, and a handful of cattle, I live in the original homestead cabin and I’m surrounded by a forest, meadow land, mountains, and a river; talk about the perfect setting for fantasy and paranormal romance.
What sorts of stories do you write?
I’ve been in love with mythology for as long as I can remember, so it’s only natural that I fell into writing speculative fiction and romance that ranges from sweet to sexy. My first book was a mythological romance, My Lord Hades and then a less sexual version of the book Persephone for my mother. Following those I’ve done two short stories in the same series: Love is Blind and An Angel in Tartarus. Then I wrote a paranormal novel Once a Valkyrja followed by a short story Prudr. In my world legends walk, myths live, and love is eternal.
When did you start writing / what made you decide to be an author?
I’ve always been a storyteller and would entertain family and friends with stories. In the 2nd grade I was introduced to a writing challenge I couldn’t pass up and ended up meeting some real authors as a reward. At the time I wasn’t thinking in terms of future careers, but it didn’t seem to matter, the writing bug had struck and for the next 8 years I wrote stories and poetry. I’d read most of the books in our small library and had this desire to write my own stories down so when I had the opportunity to take a Creative Writing class, I did. I also subscribed to Writer’s Digest and The Writer magazines, and read every book I could on writing and publishing. Being a writer is a job I knew I could do and would enjoy. It speaks to me.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
For me, the most rewarding part of writing is researching new subjects that interest me, from the mundane to religious, from the philosophical to the realistic, from the exotic to the common. I love broadening my horizons, nourish my natural curiosity, and seeking truth and understanding. Writing is the vessel that allows me to share my journey with others. It allows me to create worlds and people and situations on a blank sheet of paper. It allows me to indulge in my creative side.
What is most frustrating?
Editing. Editing is by far the most frustrating thing for me. I love to write the story. I get tired of editing it over and over and over again. Grammar was never one of my strong suits.
Do you ever feel uninspired to write? How do you deal with that?
Every few weeks I go through a writing funk where I don’t want to write and every few months it turns into a “I’m never writing again!” Some of this stems from stress to get the next story out, a bad review (I try not to read reviews, not always successfully), or a reader who has decided they must email me to tell me what they thought of my writing and how I could do this or that to make it better.
I find the surest cure for it is to talk with a writer friend of mine, read some fan mail or glowing reviews (family and friends don’t count, they sometime lie), and write out my frustrations. Strong emotions of anger can make for great emotional scenes. Sometimes, it’s best just to take a vacation for a week or so and review my goals for my writing and what I to get out of it. Reading books also helps.
What inspired you to start the Self-Published Author’s Lounge? Is it difficult to update it so frequently?
In 2007 I met Ruth Ann Nordin and we became friends. At the time I was working toward traditional publishing, but was open to learning about self-publishing. After speaking with Ruth and researching self-publishing I decided to go that route, even though it was a harder course. I love challenges and I knew this would be one that appealed to my nature. Ruth and I were talking one night about the lack of information about self-publishing on the Internet and decided to write about what we had learned for other writers in the hopes of helping them not make the same mistakes that we had made. Self-Published Author’s Lounge (SPAL) was the result. It started out as a open journal on LiveJournal but moved to WordPress.com when we did.
We never had a posting schedule for SPALs and have had some authors come and go over the years. We just wrote a post whenever we were feeling inspired to write about writing, publishing, or marketing. Ruth talks a lot about promotion and marketing. Joleene posts often on cover design, formatting, and new stuff to promote books. I re-purposed some of my notes from when I taught Creative Writing classes, updated some old posts when new data come into play, and added my research of the business side of writing to the mix. SPAL became a place to write about writing and publishing, leaving our blogs free to write for readers.
What do you like to read? How has your reading influenced what you write?
I’ve always been a fan of speculative fiction. Writers like Anne MacCaffery, David and Leigh Eddings, Lisa Ann Norman, Mercedes Lackey, and Alice Borchardt were some of my favorite. As I grew older I moved more into the romance genre and started reading work from Kelley Armstrong, Rhyannon Byrd, Eve Langlais, Nina Croft, Mina Carter, and Trina M.Lee, among others. They taught me the craft, because I’ve always learned best by watching others. They showed me the joys of mixing my two favorite genres, Speculative fiction and romance/erotic romance.
What advice would you give to young authors just starting out?
Write what makes you happy. Be that fantasy, fiction, romance, thillers, non-fiction, horror, or erotica. Do what works for you. If that’s writing everyday, then write every day. If that’s creating a project folder of maps, research, character sketches, setting sketches, outlines, etc. Do it. If its just writing without a plan, have fun at it. Don’t let anyone tell you what you must do, or the right way to write and publish. We are all different and are goals for our writing is not the same as anyone else. As long as you are happy with your results and are headed in the direction you want to be going, who gives a sh*t how we got there.
If you aren’t getting the results you want, then step back and reevaluate your goals. Make sure they aren’t unattainable goals for things you have no control over. Once you revise your goals, make a plan of attack and head out again. You hold your own fate.
Find out more about Stephannie on her website: http://stephanniebeman.com/